For the first time all season, JaQuan Lyle did not the start the Ohio State basketball team’s game at Michigan on Saturday night. The sophomore guard started the first 23 games for the Buckeyes in 2016-17, but fellow sophomore guard C.J. Jackson got the nod for the road tilt against the Wolverines.
A day before that game, OSU head coach Thad Matta said Lyle injured his ankle in the week of practice leading up to the contest vs. Michigan, which is why he didn’t start.
“He hadn’t practiced for two and a half days,” Matta said Tuesday regarding Lyle. “We talked Saturday morning and I said, ‘Let’s see how it goes.’ We didn’t know how much he was going to play, so it was more of, ‘Hey, let’s throw him out there, see how he feels.’ And he felt pretty good. He was still gimpy a little bit but I think for the most part he felt good.
“We typically have a rule that you have to practice the day before the game to start.”
The Buckeyes left Ann Arbor, Mich., with a 70-66 win. Speculation began to grow upon Jackson’s start against the Maize and Blue because he played the final 12 minutes of OSU’s previous game vs. Maryland while Lyle sat the bench.
Matta said the reason for that move was because Jackson was able to slow down Maryland guard Melo Trimble.
Given that notching conference road victories is difficult, Matt was asked if he will stick with the starting lineup he went with at Michigan, which was Jackson, senior forward Marc Loving, junior forward Jae’Sean Tate, junior center Trevor Thompson and junior guard Kam Williams, for Wednesday’s game vs. Rutgers.
“I am (just wondering) because I don’t know the answer,” Matta said Tuesday. “I know this, we’ve gone here the last week or so where we just mix up teams every day in practice and we go at it. We’re going to do the same thing today. I’m just trying to find the ultra-competitive. You look at practice afterwards and see who plays well. I don’t know what I’m going to do in terms of starting lineup just yet.”
Matta did say that Lyle practiced Monday full-go while having his ankle heavily taped.
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